We look at how Canada is coping with COVID-19, how the property market is faring and the current travel restrictions.
How is Canada coping with coronavirus?
At the start of the pandemic, Canada’s strict lockdown measures and control of the coronavirus were widely praised.
However, in the last month or so, Canada has seen a third wave of infections, with cases peaking at a 7-day rolling average of 8,767 on 17 April. At present, Alberta is the worst affected area with 481 active cases per 100,000 (compared to the national rate of 178 per 100,000).
But let’s look at the positives! In just the last month there are signs that cases are starting to fall and vaccines are taking effect. On 17 May, the 7-day rolling average was down to 5,704.
Learn more about the process of buying abroad in our Emigration Guide.
Canada has also reached a huge milestone in their pandemic response, administering 20 million vaccine doses across its provinces and territories. The country aims to deliver a further 4.5 million doses this week. In both Alberta and Ontario, all adults (18+) are now eligible for a vaccine.
On the topic of vaccines, Canada has adopted a unique approach. The country has decided to mix doses, rather than use the same brand of vaccine for both doses, and has also decided to delay second doses for up to four months.
Despite this strategy being different to many other countries, there is plenty of evidence to support this way of vaccinating. Increasing the time between doses has been found to result in a better overall immune response to the virus.
“I think having the single dose strategy, which was put forth by our Canadian public health agencies, has really saved a lot of lives and has been really instrumental and will be important for us getting back to a more normal life,” said a vaccinologist at the University of Saskatchewan.
Who can fly to and from Canada?
Canada is on the UK’s amber list meaning anyone who travels to Canada will have to quarantine for 14 days at home when they return to the UK. However, at the moment, there are still strict rules around who can enter Canada, with most foreign nationals, including British nationals, barred from entering.
Non-essential travel into Canada is not permitted, and only those with immediate family or permanent residents are permitted to enter for non-essential reasons. Immediate family of Canadian residents must prove that they are staying in Canada for 15 days or more.
There is a mandatory isolation period of 14 days for anyone entering the country.
Applicants for permanent residence who are in possession of an expired COPR (Confirmation of Permanent Residence) and PRV (Permanent Residence Visa) and who are ready to move to Canada, could be permitted to enter the country, as long as they can prove that they intend to settle in Canada rather than visit temporarily.
At the moment, there are still strict rules around who can enter Canada.
How is the Canadian property market performing?
While the property market came to a rather abrupt halt at the start of the pandemic, prices have since risen rapidly and have now recovered to pre-pandemic levels. House prices are up 23% from this time last year and sales have boomed, rising 256% in a year. Experts have attributed this surge in prices to the global shift to home working and people subsequently wanting properties with larger living spaces. This has therefore pushed up the prices of single-detached houses, which were already in short supply in many areas of Canada. Conversely, condo apartments have become slightly more affordable.
Although the Canadian housing market is currently very hot, there is evidence to suggest that it is starting to cool off as recent lockdown restrictions have eased some of the demand.
As well as a slight reduction in domestic demand, it is people coming to live in Canada from overseas that make up a huge part of the property market. In 2019, a record-setting 341,000 newcomers came to Canada. However, with Canada’s borders still closed to all but essential visitors, this is making it harder for people to buy from overseas.
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Immigration applications continue
Travel might still be restricted, but there’s nothing stopping you from starting the process of applying for a move to Canada. The Canadian government are still accepting most permanent resident applications. Their ability to review and process them is being affected by COVID-19, however, so they can’t currently estimate any processing times.
Because of COVID-19, you now have 90 days to submit your Express Entry application after you’ve received your invitation to apply.
So, even though travel is still restricted, you can still get the ball rolling with your plans to emigrate!